Chhoti Diwali or small Diwali is celebrated on the 2nd day of the five-day long Diwali festival. Though plenty of legends are associated with this day, the most common legend is the one related to the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king, Narakasura. In some states, it is also celebrated as Hanuman Jayanti, the birthday of Hanuman, as it is believed that it was on this day that Hanuman delivered the message of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya. Also known by the name 'Narak Chaturdashi', people welcome Chhoti Diwali with fire crackers and diyas. People decorate the entrances of their houses using rangoli, the main highlight of which is the tiny footprints made out of rice paste. Chhoti Diwali also involves a ritualistic pujas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Rama in evening. Read on to know more about Chhoti Diwali, the stories associated with it, and its significance.
According to the legend, there was a demon king Narakasur, who did plenty of atrocities including snatching the earrings from Mother Goddess, Aditi and abducting sixteen thousand daughters of the saints. However, he was cursed that he will be killed by a woman. This led to Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama to indulge in a fierce battle with Narakasura, with Lord Krishna as the charioteer. With the help of a divine intervention from Lord Krishna, Satyabhama killed him. After the victory, imprisoned women were released and Goddess Aditi's earrings were reclaimed.
Victory Of Good Over Evil
According to the popular belief, Lord Krishna rubbed his forehead with Narakasura's blood. After returning on Narak Chaturdashi, he massaged his body in scented oil and washed it to get rid of the filth of the battle. Bhudevi, the mother of Narakasura, declared that the day of his death must not be a day of mourning, but of rejoicing. Since then, this day has been celebrated as Chhoti Diwali every year.
Legend Of King Bali
Another legend which is associated with Chhoti Diwali is that of a mighty king called Bali, whose power posed serious threat to Devas. So, Lord Vishnu, to curb his power, approached King Bali in disguise of a dwarf Brahmin and asked to give him with few areas of land, which he could measure with three steps. King Bali, who is well known for his philanthropy and generosity, granted him the wish. But the very moment, short Brahmin, 'Vamana' grew as a gigantic figure. In the first step, he covered the heaven and in the second step, he covered the earth and the netherworld and left with no place to keep his third step, he asked the king where to place his foot. King Bali, to keep his word, offered his head and Lord Vishnu pushed him into underground. However, Lord Vishnu was impressed by the generosity of Lord Bali and granted him permission to return to earth once in a year.
Rituals And Traditions
To celebrate Krishna's bathing in scented oil, people belonging to some regions, especially, Maharashtra, take bath before sunrise. People take an early ritual bath with oil and 'uptan', which is a paste of gram flour and scented flowers. After this, children indulge in bursting fire crackers. Following this, a traditional preparation of steamed vermicelli along with sugar and milk or puffed rice with curd is served.
South Indian Tradition
In southern India, the victory of good over evil is celebrated as people wake up on early morning and make a paste by mixing kumkum and oil to symbolize blood. People cut a bitter fruit and mix it with the kumkum mixture, and apply it on the forehead to signify Krishna smashing the head of the demon. Following this, people take bath using oil and sandalwood paste.
Chhoti Diwali is as special as Diwali. Hope this article familiarised you with Chhoti Diwali and its celebrations.